Understood in the context of the traditional Church’s definition of mission, one can say that the Tamontaka experience was the first missionary exposure of the beatas of Mother Ignacia. Under the tutelage and support of the restored Jesuits they crossed into the wilderness of Mindanao to become involved in the evangelization and human development of, first, the ransomed children in Tamontaka, and eventually, with the basic education in the municipal school system of the colony.
In the consolidation of the beaterios into a religious Congregation in the twentieth century, the principle of mission was explicit in the revised Constitutions.
1902, Chapter X. n. 6:[They] had not made a particular vow to go to the missions, but in reality, …are disposed, by the grace of God, to go to lands where the faith is not known, be it to Mindanao, to China or to Japan, in order to establish schools for girls…and to prepare the children of pagan parents to receive baptism.
1914, Chapter XIX, n. 97: …and, if so designed by the divine will, to other regions in the Far East, like China and Japan wherein our Sisters, by reason of race, might be more acceptable..
These missionary aspirations did not find expression in the years that followed, so that succeeding editions dropped the provisions for missions in the Far East. It was only during the tercentenary of the foundation (1984) that reference to the foreign missions found expression once again, in the RVM Mission Statement. But by this time the Congregation had already sent Sisters outside of the Philippines for missionary activities.”…to reach out to our Asian brothers, to the Third World and the rest of the continents of America, Europe and Africa; where each has its own needs to reckon with, that we, in our little way, can help.”
Born of the missionary experiences, the XIV Ordinary General Chapter (1986) came out with a clearer articulation of the Congregation’s commitment to the overseas missions. “The Holy Spirit inspires the missionary vocation in the heart(s) of the individual(s) who discerns with her superiors the kind of response demanded of her. Imbued with a living faith and a hope that never fails, the RVM missionary should be, first and foremost, a woman of prayer. She should also be prepared and trained lest she be found unequal to the demands of her future work, to include a general knowledge of the peoples, cultures and religions, and a great esteem for the patrimony, language and customs” of the people she works with.
“Our first task in approaching another people,
Another culture, another religion,
Is to take off our shoes
For the place we are approaching is holy,
Else we may find ourselves treading on another’s dream.
More serious still, we may forget…
That God was there before our arrival.”